The Liberal Democrats, nicknamed the Lib Dems, are the most powerful political party in Shetland.
Shetland is considered a safe-seat for the Liberal Democrats, both in the UK and Scottish parliaments.
The Liberal Democrats are often incorrectly referred to as "Liberals". In actual fact, the Liberal Democrats came about in 1988, after the Liberals and the SDP merged, so they are a successor party. A minor rump Liberal Party (opposed to this merger) still exists, but does not stand in Shetland.<ref>Website of the current Liberal Party</ref>
As such, the Liberal Democrats have never formed a UK government on their own (although the Liberals did), but in the Scottish Parliament, they formed a coalition government with the Labour Party for the first two terms of its existence. The Orkney-based Liberal Democrat Jim Wallace, who had been former MP for Orkney and Shetland, was Deputy First Minister through this coalition, and briefly twice Acting First Minister between the death of Donald Dewar, and appointment of Henry McLeish, and again after the resignation of Henry McLeish.
In 2010, they formed a coalition with the Conservative party, with Nick Clegg as deputy prime minister,the first such coalition in Westminster since WWII.
In the European Parliament, they are in the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.
- Tavish Scott Member of the Scottish Parliament for Shetland
- Alistair Carmichael MP for Orkney and Shetland
- Jim Wallace Member of Parliament for Orkney and Shetland from 1988 until 2001
- Scottish Liberal Democrats